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Army Commander highlights value of SLA’s overseas duties which bring pride and honour to SL



In his address to SLAMC leaving for South Sudan on Peace-Keeping Mission

South Sudan bound 7th Army Contingent salutes Army Chief at SLAMC Regimental HQ

The 7th contingent of the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps (SLAMC), bound for United Nations Peace-Keeping Mission in South Sudan’s Level-2 Hospital (UNMISS), on the eve of their departure, presented a ceremonial salute to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head, National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) at the SLAMC Regimental Headquarters at Werahera.

The Army Commander was welcomed by Brigadier Upul Weerakoon, Centre Commandant at the SLAMC Regimental HQ, and was invited to review the Guard Turnout presented by SLAMC troops.

After the chief guest was welcomed by Brigadier Krishantha Fernando, Colonel Commandant of the SLAMC and Director-General of the Army Health Services, he was invited to the parade ground, where the parade commander invited him to review the Guard of Honour accorded on his behalf.

Symbolic of the importance of the day’s event, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva formally handed over the National flag, Army flag, United Nations flag and the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps flag to the contingent.

The 6th Sri Lankan contingent already serving the UN assignment in South Sudan is expected to return home shortly after completing their tenure of service in accordance with the provisions of the UN.

The South Sudan bound 7th contingent, commanded by Colonel Roshan Jayamanna, consists of four Medical Specialists, four Medical Officers and a Dentist, a Commanding Officer, seven Administrative Officers, 41 SLAMC Other Ranks including Ward-In-charge, nurses, critical care nurses (gynecological), operation theatre technician, Physiotherapist (DPM), radiographer, X-ray technician, SMO/MPH (ECG), dental assistant, dental technician, medical storeman, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, lab technician, lab technologists, CSM, CQMS, hygiene assistant, admin. clerk, cooks, ambulance drivers, sanitary duty man, mortuary attendant and nine Other Ranks from the Sri Lanka Signal Corps, Corps of Engineer Service and the Sri Lanka Army Service Corps.

Extending his best wishes, the Army Chief, after the ceremonial parade, addressed the contingent and highlighted the value of their overseas duties, bringing pride and honour to the country. He also reminded them of the importance of maintaining the highest level of discipline, while serving and their commitment to the role and tasks in South Sudan.

Senior Officers including Major-General Duminda Sirinaga, Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Staff Officers, Directors, Center Commandant of SLAMC, Senior Officer, Officers and Other Ranks were present.

The UNMISS, headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, has deployed thousands of blue helmets, comprising military personnel, Policemen and Civil Staffers in strife-torn South Sudan with the objective of restoring peace in the country.

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary



There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran



But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President



The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.



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